Coffee Talk: French Press

A few years ago, I heard about French press coffee, and some friends made some for me–it was strong, but I didn’t really notice anything that set it apart from normal drip coffee. Last week when I visited Dark Horse coffee, I had my second experience with French Press and it was amazing. I mentioned in last Friday’s post that it was the best cup of coffee I ever had. It made me determined to try French press at home! The stars aligned when a neighbor in our complex who works for Starbucks hooked us up with a partial bag of limited-edition coffee (Casi Cielo). It was ground specifically for French press (which means the grounds are coarser) so he also lent us his press so we could make it properly.

French Press

Learning to do French press is hard! We should have looked up instructions online–it would have saved us a lot of time (and coffee grounds!) if I had proceed with some sort of guidance. Let me explain: when I make coffee in my Mr. Coffee, I use more than one tablespoon scoop for each cup of coffee I make. For example, if I fill it up to the “4” line, I use 4.5 or 5 tablespoons of coffee. With a French press you do NOT need to do this! My first go-around I used 8 scoops and the end result was like MUD! It was undrinkable. Since the grounds steep in the boiling water, more like tea would do, the coffee is much stronger and you don’t need to use as much. We dumped the first batch and made the second batch with 4 scoops. Much better. Which brings me to my next point–I think this is much more economical! Where I would use 6-8 scoops in my Mr Coffee, I only used 4 in the Bodum and it was much stronger, more robust, and complex.

French Press

So, as far as I’ve figured it out… here is how to make French press coffee.

  • Boil water in a kettle.
  • Scoop your grounds into the glass.
  • (edited to update–let water sit for a moment so it is not actively boiling. too hot will distort the flavor!)
  • Add water to the grounds, give a little stir.
  • Let them sit for about 4 minutes
  • Then press the plunger down–the screen will separate the grounds from the coffee.
  • Enjoy!

Fellow coffee fiends, feel free to weigh in with any recommendations or funny stories in the comments! As a French press newbie, I’m sure I have a lot to learn from you.

I have a fun non-coffee-related post planned for tomorrow, but come back on Monday for a continuation of my coffee adventures… my experience with a pour-over! 


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Staci blogs about travel at

11 thoughts on “Coffee Talk: French Press”

  1. We call a French press a cafetiere and I’d say it’s the most common form of home brewed coffee in the UK! (Funnily enough in my experience they drink a LOT of filtered in Feance as well as the espresso-based drinks like cafe creme). The only tip I’d add is to make sure you press te hunger down slowly, firmly and evenly or you’ll get spurts that will lead to coffee ground in your cup!

    Santa bought me a cute green one cup in my stocking last year! We also have a six cup for guests. X

  2. I just had no idea what “french press” was until I saw the picture of the cafetiere! One cup jugs are available if you are on your own, and we have a huge 12 cup as well as the normal size – great for gatherings. I also haunted thrift stores for coffee cans so have around 20, all small, and non-matching. Enjoy your euro-style cuppas!

  3. That green Bodum French Press is at Sur La Table for 17.99. I bought that same one last month. Boil the water but let it rest, do not put it in until the water stops boiling, very important! Also let the coffee steep for 4 min. then slowly press down. ENJOY!!

    1. Thanks for the tip about letting the water rest! I work at a Sur La Table but we don’t have this model. Some stores carry different items from others, though so I might have to call around. :)

  4. Yesssss!!!! French press is the so great! It’s especially good for a cup of coffee you want to kick back and enjoy. I don’t like making a press if I’m on the go. I hope I can share a press with you soon, Staci!

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